Lincoln Gap Road: The highest vehicle accessible road in Vermont
Updated: Jun 29, 2020
Lincoln Gap road connects the Champlain Valley to the Mad River Valley via the highest vehicle-accessible mountain pass in Vermont (2,424 ft). On the west, is the town of Lincoln and on the east is Warren, VT. This road is also part of the Northeast Backcountry Discovery Route (NEBDR).
The road is predominately pavement, with the exception of a 2.72 mile gravel section in Lincoln and a 1 mile long section on the Warren side. Most of the road is steep, narrow, twisty pavement.
Coming from the west, turn onto Lincoln Rd from VT-116 just north of the Rocky Dale Gardens. As you head up Lincoln Rd there is a great swimming spot known as Bartlett Falls on your right. There are multiple pull-offs where you can find a spot to get down to the river. The swimming hole features a large waterfall and a deep pool. Away from the main pool you can find multiple smaller pools where you can cool off.
3.4 miles up Lincoln Rd, you’ll come to the Lincoln General Store. The store doesn’t have any gas, but they do have a deli where you purchase a nice sandwich.
The road climbs steadily as you approach the gap and turns to dirt. Shortly after turning to dirt, you’ll pass a Forest Service Road on your right. The forest service road doesn’t connect anything, but it can make for an uncrowded side trip. The road is good quality and is similar to a class 3 dirt road.
After the dirt section, the road returns to pavement and climbs very steeply, with grades as steep as 24% at points. From the beginning of Lincoln Road you climb 1,800 feet to the height of the gap.
The gap itself does not offer a view, but you can get a western view from the Lincoln Gap West Vista trail. The trail is just west of the peak. When traveling east, look for a pull-off on your left. The trail is a short hike to the vista.
At the peak of the gap there is a large parking lot. Here the Long Trail crosses and it is usually busy with hikers.
The ride down to Warren is narrow and twisty. The road is shaded by trees and the surface can stay wet long after a rain. The pavement can get moss-covered making it extra slippery.
Lincoln Gap road ends on VT-100 in Warren. The Warren Store -- just across the street (almost) -- is a good spot for lunch with baked goods, deli sandwiches and a beautiful deck next to the Mad River.
The road is closed seasonally, typically closing sometime between late October and mid-November and then reopening in May. See the NewEngland511.org site for the status of the road.